Maryland Crabbing Season 2018

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chesapeake bay blue crabs
Blue Crabs

The Maryland blue crab season officially opens April 1, 2018 in the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries as well as the Atlantic Ocean and coastal bays, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

“Crabbing is a unique and rewarding experience that offers everyone a great day on Maryland’s beautiful waters, a firsthand look at the environment of one of our iconic species, and finally an enjoyable feast that’s defined our state’s culture for generations.” DNR Fishing and Boating Services Director David Blazer said.

There are a lot of different ways to catch blue crab in Maryland. DNR suggests that recreational crabbers acquaint themselves with the state’s rules and regulations before crabbing.

Maryland Blue Crab Regulations Highlights:

Recreational crabbing licenses are required for anyone who uses a collapsible crab traps, eel pots, net rings, seines, or trotline; or who catches more than two dozen hard crabs (with a limit of 1 bushel) or more than 1 dozen soft crabs or male peelers (with a limit of 2 dozen).

Crabbers using handlines, dip nets or catching beneath those stated limits do not require a license.

Owners, lessee, or tenants of private shoreline properties can also crab without a license; they may use up to two registered crab pots, but they must be fitted with a bycatch reduction or turtle excluder device in every entry funnel and be marked with the owner’s name and address.

A recreational crabbing license is not required in the Atlantic Ocean or coastal bays. Additionally, any passenger of a boat with a valid crabbing license doesn’t need an individual license to crab.

All recreational crabbers are prohibited from selling crabs or possessing an egg-bearing (sponge) crab or any female hard or peeler crab.

More information about Maryland crab regulations can be found on the DNR website (dnr.maryland.gov).

source: Maryland Department of Natural Resources

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